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Pentacle
Under the Black Cross

Company: Ibex Moon Records
Release: 2007 (priginally released 2005)
Reviewer: Al Kikuras
Rating: 4



Ibex Moon has batted a thousand for ought-seven in my book, just based on Denial Fiend's massive debut and this, which is a re-release of Pentacle's 2005 album, previously only released overseas. Both are massive old school death metal records. Yeah, I said record. When it's THIS old school it's a fucking RECORD, kids.

I loved Pentacle's EP The Fifth Moon. I picked up Rides the Moonstorm, and while it didn't floor me like the EP did, 'twas still a very gratifying listen. Under the Black Cross, it pleases me to write, is kicking my ass almost as much as the EP did. Interestingly, this is a concept record based on Operation Chariot during World War II, but unless you sit and read the lyrics sheet, that is basically irrelevant as there really is not a musical theme throughout the record that tells the story, ala one of the good (read: old) good King Diamond records. But the songs on Under The Black Cross are strong. No blast beats. Great riffs. Lots of grunts and just enough groove. Bassist/vocalist Wannes Gubbels has a timeless metal voice, sounding like the love child of Jeff Becerra, Tom Warrior, and Martin van Drunen, but with his own identity.

This is death metal, through and through, but in the grand old style of Celtic Frost and Possessed back in the days when the line between thrash and death was a bit blurrier. Not that there aren't bands combining the two genres now, but rather than sounding like a "death thrash" band, it is obvious from the sound, and even more so knowing the band's history, that Pentacle are the real deal. The two genres are represented here as they were when the aforementioned troops stormed the battlefield because death metal was still in its infancy, and like a parasitic twin, was sucking the life out of thrash to create some new mutant life form more ferocious than its host. Pentacle have captured that sound and feeling perfectly, as if time was stopped, and manage to sound as hungry as their predecessors did when death metal first spread its leathery wings.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: PENTACLE
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Under the Black CrossPentacle
2007
Al Kikuras1/23/2008


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: PENTACLE
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Ancient DeathPentacle
2016
Greg Watson11/3/2016


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: PENTACLE
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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